CROSS COUNTRY NEWS
WHAT'S HAPPENING ON THE ROAD FOR JESUS WITH THE ROWES SEPT '05 - APRIL 2006
HURRICANE KATRINA RELIEF
PRAISE THE LORD, MY PRECIOUS BROTHERS AND SISTERS IN OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST! I HOPE THIS NEWSLETTER FINDS YOU WELL AND BLESSED! ON AUGUST 29TH OF 2005, my prayer walk up the Mississippi River was temporarily put on hold because of the devastating impact that Hurricane Katrina had on the city of New Orleans.
The first week after the Hurricane, I worked with brother Todd Netherland removing fallen trees from residences in Baton Rouge. Then on Sept 4th, a friend of mine, Chris, from a local church in New Orleans called me and asked me if I would be interested in helping him set up a relief center for the victims of Katrina. On Sept 5, Chris, his brothers Keith and Brian and I were busy putting the relief center together in the gym of a Christian school.
Just two weeks before the storm, the elders of a church approached the Pastor of a larger church and asked him if he would be interested in merging wthe two churches together. The Pastor heard the Lord in the situation, and agreed to the merger. Two weeks later, the pastor's church campus was eight feet under Katrina's flood waters. Because of that merger, we were able to be among the first to respond to the relief efforts to the victims of Katrina.
Two days after the storm, about 120 pastors formed an organization called "PRC (Pastor's Relief Council) COMPASSION" and got together in Baton Rouge to coordinate relief efforts for Katrina victims. The Pastor of this church was among the 120, so he called Chris, and asked him if he would be interested in setting up a relief center, and in turn, Chris called me. WHAT A WONDERFUL OPPORTUNITY FOR MINISTRY WE HAVE BEEN BLESSED TO BE A PART OF! The pastors of PRC contacted their respective denominations and ministerial contacts from across the nation, and informed them of the need for their assistance here in Southern Louisiana. As a result, we had hundreds of volunteers from across all denominational lines who came together to work in unity with one another in an effort to see this city rebuilt for the Glory of God.
For the first month, we concentrated on going out into the economically depressed neighborhoods where there were people who had been unable to flee the hurricane for various reasons. I would bring out teams of volunteers in vans loaded down with various basic need items, like shampoo, soap, diapers, water, and military ready-to-eat meals, and of course, the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ! Everyone we spoke to was receptive to the Word of God, and no one turned down an offer of prayer. What a wonderful change Katrina had worked in the hearts of the people in New Orleans. One of the areas we ministered in on a regular basis was a neighborhood that I had carried my cross through a few years ago. At that time, the neighborhood was an area that had a lot of crime and drug activity. As I carried my cross through the neighborhood, I had been confronted by a group of young men who tried to intimidate me by showing me a gun. Instead of being intimidated, I just charged them with their need for Jesus Christ. Now, after Katrina, both young and old were very receptive and grateful to the ministry that we brought to them. For the first five months of this relief effort, NO ONE turned down an offer of prayer. That's absolutely unprecedented in New Orleans. Generally, a person would be fortunate if one in ten people accepted an offer of prayer.
We didn't only go out into the neighborhoods to offer relief...as I mentioned earlier, we had set up a relief center in the School Gymnasium as well, and we had lots of people who would come to the center to get supplies.
At the last part of September, Denny Nissly of Christ in Action teamed up with the relief efforts of the church, and set up a feeding ministry for the victims of Katrina at the church's campus which had been flooded by Katrina. He and his team served 3,000 people a day at the campus, not to mention sending 1,000-1,500 meals out to some of the devastated areas. Denny runs a tight ship, and is very well equipped to minister in disaster areas. During the 9-11 crises, Denny set up his tent at the Pentagon. It was a blessing to see Denny's ministry in Action. PLEASE PRAY FOR DENNY NISSLEY, HIS MINISTRY AND HIS FAMILY; THAT THE LORD WOULD BLESS HIM ABUNDANTLY FOR THE WORK HE DOES TO FURTHER THE KINGDOM OF GOD. HE RECENTLY WENT THROUGH A MAJOR OPERATION, SO PLEASE PRAY THAT THE LORD WOULD GRANT HIM A QUICK RECOVERY.
On October 8th, we moved our relief center from the school gymnasium to the Airline campus parking lot. A church in California called "Mariner's Church" teamed up with us and purchased a number of tents to use at the center. They also sent teams to help us with the logistics and in the recovery effort as well. They have been a great blessing to the host church, both financially and by sending teams of volunteers to work with us in this relief effort. I have also been blessed to make some friends from Mariner's over the past months. Every team has worked hard, and is very conscientious in their conduct as ministers representing Jesus Christ. Mariner's is very active in missions around the world. I have been impressed by the reports I have heard about their extensive work throughout the world. PLEASE PRAY FOR MARINER'S CHURCH, THAT THE LORD WOULD BLESS ITS MEMBERS AND ITS PASTORS AS THEY SEEK TO FURTHER THE KINGDOM OF GOD THROUGHOUT THE WORLD.
As we grew in size and in the number of volunteers, we were able to expand the scope of ministry to the community. We have sent teams out almost weekly to gut out houses and for debris clean up. Before Christmas, we had the Department of Labor here with their mobile units on the parking lot, providing the people who came to the relief center with job opportunities. The Tide Corporation set up a mobile Laundromat on the parking lot, and for six weeks, they laundered around 300-350 loads of laundry a day for free as a service to the community! Occasionally, we would have a mobile medical team come and set up their mobile unit in the parking lot, and the people who were coming to the center would get free medical care.
It's not MY relief center.
If it was, I would have said "Laura's o.k., but Santa is not invited!"
At Christmas, we were blessed to receive a lot of new and like new used toys from various agencies and churches across the USA, and we were able to distribute thousands of toys to the children in this area. GLORY! What a wonderful sight it was to see the children being blessed as well as the parents who were grateful that their children were able to have a somewhat "normal Christmas". Now, I realize that there are some who get my newsletter who are against the commercialization of Christmas, and believe that if we observe Christmas at all, we should be observing it to celebrate Christ's Birth. I am of the same mindset. It really bugs me when people lose sight of Christ's Birth, and let materialism take over. BUT...not all have that revelation, and it was a blessing to see people being blessed.First Lady Laura Bush also came to pay us a visit for Christmas. It was interesting to see the security measures that were set in place before she even came on site.
During all this time we were getting volunteers from throughout the United States who would come to New Orleans to work with us. Some loved the opportunity to minister to the people so much that they stayed on as permanent volunteers. These permanent volunteers are what makes this relief center function as well as it does. They have been a blessing and have endured much hardship and long hours of WORK with very little time off for the sake of the ministry that is taking place at this relief center. I don't have pictures of all the permanent volunteers we have had here these past eight months, but the Lord knows them all, and I know they will be blessed for their diligence and their sacrifice of love. PLEASE PRAY FOR SCOTT, STEVE, KAREN, JULIE, LINDA, SHOU & SHARON, MO, JIM AND CHRISTINA, JUSTIN B., JUSTIN K., WILL, RON, MELANIE, MELISSA, RICHARD, ANDREW, JOE, TONY & LINDSEY, MEL PAUL, MATT, BILL & ANJIE, RICKY & DEBBIE, DANNY, ADAM, DARREN, CHRIS & CINDY, KEITH, BRIAN M., BRIAN F., RODNEY, KIRSTEN, DANA, KEVIN, KEVIN AND KEVIN, ERIC, JESSE, DENNIS, MICHELLE, TALITHA, FEATHER, ELIJAH, GRACE, NOAH, ABIGAIL, AND HOSEA. PLEASE PRAY ALSO FOR PASTOR DENNIS WATSON, AND THE LEADERSHIP OF CELEBRATION CHURCH. ALSO, PLEASE PRAY FOR THE OTHER CHRISTIAN RELIEF CENTERS IN NEW ORLEANS THAT HAVE BEEN REBUILDING NEW ORLEANS ONE SOUL AT A TIME.
Most of you know that prior to this Katrina relief effort; I have been carrying the cross on a prayer walk up the Mississippi River on behalf of the Church in America. My prayer has been that the division that separates the Church along denominational, racial, economical and societal lines would come to an end and that we would be in unity with one another, making an alliance to battle against Satan and his kingdom. Well, I have to say that it is happening here in New Orleans with this Katrina relief effort... We get teams of volunteers from across the United States and Canada, of almost every denomination, working side by side for the furtherance of the Kingdom of God, and loving every minute of it! GLORY! What a wonderful God we serve!
Eph 4:1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, 2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; 3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
24/7 PRAYER, WORSHIP AND EVANGELISM FOR NEW ORLEANS AND BEYOND, 2005-2006
When Chris called me to help him set up the relief center, I planned to set up my tent and have evangelistic services every night in an effort to see this city rebuilt and transformed by the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. We set the tent up on the Transcontinental campus, and had two Sunday services before Hurricane Rita hit the Gulf. I took my tent down and we left the area for a couple of days until Rita had passed. When I got back, I knew that we were going to move to the Airline property soon, and so I kept the tent down until we moved.
In the meantime, I received an e-mail that a friend of mine, Della had forwarded to me from a brother in the Lord named Chad Taylor. He had a vision for 24/7 prayer to take place in New Orleans. The only problem was that he didn't have a tent, a sound system or a place to put the tent. I got excited because I had all three! I contacted Chad and told him that things were already set in place for a 24/7 endeavor for the Glory of God. I told him the size of my tent, and how the tent was the colors of the inside of the tabernacle, which would be perfect for a tabernacle of Prayer! Chad had the e-mail contacts to send out a call across the nation for participants in the 24/7 tabernacle. We met the next week to discuss our visions. The Lord immediately knit our hearts together to be co-laborers in this effort.
When Chad came to meet me, it was the last part of September. We both went to the French Quarter to scout the land. All along the sidewalks were refrigerators that had been removed from the homes of those people who had evacuated the area for a few weeks. When they returned, they discovered that all the food in their refrigerators and freezers had spoiled, leaving a toxic mess inside. They taped the doors shut and put the refrigerators outside to be hauled away. Someone had gone throughout the French Quarter with a black magic marker and had written the words "Voodoo here now" on practically every refrigerator on the sidewalks. The practitioners of the occult understand the reality of the spiritual warfare that is actually taking place in the heavenlies, while it seems that the Church in New Orleans for the most part has historically been lulled to sleep or has actually been overtaken by unbelief when it comes to spiritual warfare.
Although Christians here are familiar with the principle behind Ephesians 6:10-18, for the most part, they don't behave as if they believe it is true. Rather than taking an active stand against the wickedness that is prevalent in New Orleans, there is a general acquiescent acceptance of it. Instead of responding to Jesus Christ's call to go out to evangelize and be a light in the darkness, a majority of the Christians in the New Orleans area either leave the city during festivals like Mardi Gras or Southern Decadence, or they stay at home, hiding from the evil. Over the years I have been amazed and dismayed at this demonstration of unbelief and fear on the part of the Church in New Orleans. While the local Christians flee, hundreds of Christians who have a genuine commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ come from all across the United States into the city to push back the darkness of wickedness that prevails here. The Joshua's and the Caleb's who aren't afraid of the giants in the land go forth boldly in the Name of the Lord! Imagine what it would be like if the whole Church went out to take the streets for the Glory of God. Multitudes of people who came to party would be saved, and those who didn't get saved would probably never come back because of all the "religious fanatics" that were out there trying to tell them about Jesus every time they turned around!
While we were walking through the French Quarter, Chad and I were actively engaged in praying and claiming the land for the glory of God. I believe I actually made a mark in the history of Bourbon Street. I stood on the corner of St. Peter's and Bourbon Street, right in front of the Cat's Meow, and declared with a loud voice: "Jesus Christ is King of Kings, and Lord of Lords over New Orleans!" For the first time in recent history, there was no one who shouted at me to shut up, or who cursed me or threatened to hit me, or mocked me for my stand for Jesus Christ! But way in the distance, both Chad and I heard a distinct long drawn out groan, as if the principalities that ruled over the area were saying: "Oooooh, Nooooo! The Christians have returned!" GLORY!
On October 8th, we moved the relief center to the Airline location and set up the tabernacle alongside Airline Drive. Chad's e-mail call for people to occupy the tent resulted in an almost immediate response from a group from Georgia, "The Cross Worship Ministry", Mark Baer, and a group of 5 worshippers who occupied the tent for five wonderful days and nights, to initiate the 24/7 prayer, praise and worship/evangelism. They arrived on Oct. 11th, and filled the tent with Praise and Worship. It was a blessing to have them here to work with me in the tent. Since that day, we have had teams from Minnesota, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Canada, New York, New Jersey, California, Washington State, North Carolina, Iowa, Washington, Tennessee, Arizona, Florida and Ohio come to join us specifically to occupy the prayer tent to intercede on behalf of New Orleans, the Gulf region, and the United States.
Each one of the teams that came also rolled up their sleeves and worked daily at the relief center. There were also some teams that came to work at the relief center that spent time in intercession and worship under the tent. The Canadians that came were among the first of the groups to join me as well, and Tom & Eva blessed me with a nice sound system for the ministry. I had my Fender Passport and was resolved to use it, but they determined that the tent needed a good sound system, so as soon as they got here, they began to unpack the equipment. I was absolutely standing in awe at the Lord's provision! Many musicians and preachers have been blessed to use that equipment. Thank You, Jesus! Eva's returned 3 times. Each time it's been a blessing to work with her.
In November, a group of 42 soldiers from the North East House of Prayer in New York came and we were blessed to have 20 hours of occupation in the tent every day for about 2 weeks. I have been so blessed with these soldiers who have come along side of me to labor in this field, that I don't want to diminish the significance of their responding to the call...each one of them sacrificed much to engage in a labor of love for the Lord Jesus Christ - traveling hundreds or even thousands of miles and spending a small fortune to come here, not to mention the hours and the physical labor they invested here...yet my desire has been that the local churches would get involved by adopting two hours a week in which they could bombard the heavens with their prayer and intercession, their worship, and their ministry. I believe that unless the local church lays hold of this, the city will continue to be dominated by the occult powers that have held it captive for all these centuries.
There HAVE been a few ministries that have responded to the call and who have been faithful to being here on the nights they have committed to. "Grafted In" is a local worship band and they have been coming every Monday night at 7:00 to spend two hours in praise and worship and prayer. Dr. Louis Soto and his anointed group of intercessors from Verbo Christian Fellowship come every Tuesday night to bombard the heavenlies with nonstop prayer and intercession put to music styled after the "Harp and Bowl" ministry of the Kansas City International House of Prayer.
On Thursday nights, a young man from Colorado named Eric who came to work here in the area brings the ministry of the Word of God, and on Friday nights, Sister Beatrice comes for a time of intercession and exhortation to the Body. On Sunday mornings, Pastor Troy Bohn of RAVEN Ministries has a service at 10:30. All the rest of the times are still open for ministry. I praise God for these men and women of God who have seen the necessity of corporate prayer and worship and who have responded to the call. I have been to several pastor's prayer meetings, and a couple of city wide prayer meetings. Each time I go, I reintroduce myself to the pastors and the Christians that are there and tell them about the prayer tent. As you can see, not many have responded as of this writing, although many have assured me that they would. I am not discouraged by the lack of response...I am doing only as the Lord has directed me, and am being faithful to continue as long as He wants me to.
Coming into this, I knew it would be a hard field to plow. New Orleans has been dominated by a spirit of religion which has lulled the church to sleep for centuries. I knew this would not be an over night success, and that not everyone would jump aboard, so I am thankful to those who have joined in this effort, and for those who have come from afar to fill in the gaps that the local church has not yet filled. As far as I am concerned, the issue isn't about the importance of the Church assembling corporately under my tent...The important thing is that the Body of Christ engages in a consistent and unwavering effort to see this city rebuilt spiritually for the Glory of God. Once a month or bi-monthly prayer meetings are better than nothing, but unless we become as serious as the enemy, this city will once again be given over to the crime corruption and poverty that held sway over it before Katrina. Please pray that the Lord would open the minds and hearts, as well as the spiritual eyes of the pastors, the various ministries and the Christians in this area so they would understand the importance of this city being continuously bathed in prayer by the people of God.
UNLESS WE GET AS SERIOUS ABOUT THE FURTHERANCE OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD IN THIS CITY AND THIS NATION AS THE PRACTITIONERS OF THE OCCULT ARE ABOUT FURTHERING SATAN'S KINGDOM, THERE ARE SURE TO BE EVEN WORSE DISASTERS THAT WILL TAKE PLACE IN OUR CITIES AND OUR NATION. I BELIEVE A CHURCH THAT IS UNITED UNDER THE BANNER OF JESUS CHRIST FOR HIS GLORY ALONE ACROSS DENOMINATIONAL, RACIAL, SOCIAL AND ECONOMICAL LINES CAN MAKE UP A HEDGE OF PROTECTION AROUND THE CITY AND THE NATION. SATAN'S STRATEGY HAS ALWAYS BEEN TO DIVIDE AND CONQUER. FOR TRUE REVIVAL TO BREAK OUT OVER THIS LAND WE HAVE TO DROP OUR OWN AGENDAS, AND BE ABOUT COMING TOGETHER AS ONE BODY FOR THE GLORY OF GOD!
Also please pray for the Lord's mighty blessing to be upon all these brothers and sisters both locally, nationally, and internationally who HAVE responded to the call. They have all been a tremendous blessing to me, but most importantly, they have been a tremendous blessing to the Lord in their sincerity and their dedication to His Will. And please pray for Chad Taylor and his family and ministry for their faithfulness and dedication to the call of the Lord on their lives. Chad also organized the setting up of a 24/7 tent in Thomasville, Georgia, as well. Sam and Londa have also been a blessing to me...they are co-laborers with Chad and I, having set up a 24/7 worship tent in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi.
If the Lord Wills, there should be another tent in Port Arthur sometime in the near future. I was privileged to bring in the New Year with some warriors from North Carolina, California, Canada, California, and Washington, as we invaded the French Quarter with prayer, praise and worship and evangelism.
At Mardi Gras, almost all of the veteran soldiers who have engaged in the battle for souls over the years felt that the spiritual climate on Bourbon Street was different than it used to be...For the first few nights of the outreach, from Wednesday night through Saturday night, people were more prone to engage us in serious and respectful dialogue. But Sunday, Monday and Tuesday seemed to be just as intense and as decadent as ever. I had no doubt that the practitioners of the occult were busy engaging in some spiritual warfare of their own Saturday night. As usual, the local Christians for the most part were not present to claim their city for Jesus...They had either left town to flee the wickedness, or they stayed home and watched T.V., or even worse, they were out on the streets, engaging in the revelry with the heathen. Every year I meet lots of "Christians" on Bourbon Street who assure me that they are not there to partake in the revelry, nor are they there to evangelize...they're there, they tell me, because this is their city and this is what New Orleaneans do to celebrate the biggest show on earth!
An article in Time magazine dated March 21, 2006 informs us that up until January, there had been no reported shootings since Katrina. In the Month of February, the month of Mardi Gras, there were seven murders and twelve shootings. As of the date of the article, there had been 15 shootings that month. Now, as of April 20th, there have been 25 murders. THERE IS SUCH URGENCY FOR THE CHURCH TO SHAKE OFF ITS COMPLACENCY. IF YOU WANT TO BE A PART OF THIS EFFORT TO JOIN US IN PRAYER FOR THIS CITY, YOU CAN CONTACT ME, AND YOU WILL BE WELCOME TO JOIN US. This is a great mission trip for you or your church!
EASTER, 2006 MARKSVILLE, LA.
Finally, to bring you up to date, on the Wednesday before Good Friday, I went to Marksville to do a reenactment of the crucifixion with Pastor Chris Kelone of Cornerstone Church. On Thursday, we did an outdoor reenactment of the Last Supper, and served fish to the people who joined us. On Friday, we walked down the main street of Marksville for two miles on Hwy One and people beat me as I carried the cross in a reenactment of the crucifixion. When we got to the church I hung on a cross beside the highway as Chris Kelone and Burton Dodge preached the Message of the Cross. Hundreds of cars drove slowly by, and one man came to the cross to give his heart to Jesus.
Hallelujah! Pastor Chris is praying with Tyrone (center) who is asking Jesus to be the Lord of his life!
Well, that brings us up to date as to what's been happening with the Rowes! I hope you have been blessed as you read this. Please keep us in your prayers as we endeavor to bring Glory to the King of kings. So far we have had 27 baptisms on the relief center grounds and 100s of people who have prayed to ask Jesus to be the Lord of their lives through the concerted effort of all the volunteers that have teamed up with us! Please forgive me for not updating you as to the ministy earlier...This has been a BUSY time. I have been averaging 4-5 hours of sleep daily, which leaves me with little time to myself to take care of things like this!
We love you, Lance, Michelle, Talitha, Feather, Elijah. Grace, Noah, Abigail, and Hoshea!
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